ST. CLOUD - Local community members and leaders gathered on Tuesday morning for the 9th annual St. Cloud Conversation on Race.

The focus on the event is to recognize the diversity and different cultures in the St. Cloud area and how to prevent and fight local racism.

St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, District 742 Superintendent Willie Jett, St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson and Bishop Donald Kettler were among those in attendance at the event.

Anderson spoke during the event and says he was taught at a young age by his family that discrimination and acts against groups of people were unacceptable.

"We were required to intervene when we were kids or teens if we saw a human being have their dignity stripped from them, my experiences have given me empathy-it has forced me to continue to rely on all those wonderful values I learned growing up" Anderson said.

Anderson also emphasized his efforts at diversifying the St. Cloud Police Department.

"I'm doing my best to ensure that if not now, in five or ten years, the St. Cloud Police department will be more representative of the community at large, we are not there yet-unfortunately there are still people who refer to St. Cloud as White Cloud," Anderson said.

The event was hosted by Create CommUNITY, the group has the mission to dismantle racism through systematic change.


St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson. (Dan DeBaun, WJON News)